No money for food, heating or electric

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OVER a third of low paid workers have had to skip meals, sitting at home in the dark and cold because they have no money for food, electricity and heating, new research released yesterday has revealed.

Over a third of working parents on low incomes have regularly skipped meals due to a lack of money, and almost half have fallen behind on household bills, according to new research from the Living Wage Foundation.

Meanwhile, 140,000 households can’t afford to top up their prepayment energy meter.

New research from Citizens Advice has found that 140,000 households in Great Britain (around 400,000 people) have been left without gas or electricity because they didn’t have enough money to top up their prepayment meter (PPM).

‘The vast majority of these households (120,000) have people living there who may be particularly vulnerable to being without heat and power, such as a child or someone with a long-term health condition,’ Citizens Advice states. One of the people Citizens Advice has helped with this problem is Tom (not his real name), who lives alone in a council property.

He said: ‘That’s really stressful if you run out of electric. Imagine, if you put yourself in your home and you’ve got no electric and you’ve got no gas so you’ve got no heating. You’ve got no entertainment, there’s nothing to do. You’re just sitting there waiting for the next day to come or until you can contact somebody. You feel depressed, you feel anxious, feel annoyed – all sorts of emotions.’

Meanwhile, Survation polled 1,016 UK parents working full time and earning less than the Real Living Wage, found: • 37% said they had skipped meals regularly for financial reasons • 43% said they had fallen behind on household bills • 29% said they had fallen behind on their mortgage or rent payments • 37% of respondents had topped up their monthly income with a credit card or loan • 22% had taken out a payday loan to cover essential purchases • 51% had borrowed money from a friend or relative • 30% had walked to work as they couldn’t afford the travel fare.